Photography in History
Art History and Theory
Undergraduate: Level 5
Sunday 17 January 2021
Friday 26 March 2021
29 July 2020
Requisites for this module
BA V3R9 Art History with Modern Languages,
BA VR3B Art History with Modern Languages (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad)
The year 1839 saw the birth of photography and the beginning of a revolution in the way people saw themselves, their nations, and their world. In this module, we will explore not only the evolution of the medium over the 175 years since its invention, but also the creation of the field within the discipline of art history.
We will consider photography in relation to the democratisation of portraiture; the development of new scientific methods and systems of surveillance; the photograph's change in status from document to artwork; the tension between photography and modernist art; the shifting definition of photojournalism; and the medium's role in the field of postmodern art.
The aims of this module are:
1. to develop a greater understanding of key developments in the history of European and American photography;
2. to introduce students to issues related to some of the main developments in European and American photograph since its invention;
3. to raise students’ awareness of different methods for analysing the medium of photography and its personal, documentary and artistic uses;
4. to encourage debate about the place of photography in society;
5. to familiarise students with specialised debates in past and recent literature around the interpretation of photographs;
6. to encourage student awareness of different methods of approaching the discipline through analysis of chosen texts;
7. to stimulate students to develop skills in communication through assignments and seminars
By the end of this module the student should have:
a. a greater appreciation and richer understanding of the history of photography;
b. insight into different methods of interpreting photographs and texts based on some knowledge of the appropriate historical and interpretative contexts;
c. experience in subjecting photographs and texts to analysis and interpretation;
d. insight into the different methods of art-historical investigation that have been explored with reference to European and American photography;
e. an ability to discuss the history of photography and to reflect upon this history through assignments and seminars.
By the end of the module, students should also have acquired a set of transferable skills, and in particular be able to:
1. define the task in which they are engaged and exclude what is irrelevant;
2. seek and organise the most relevant discussions and sources of information;
3. process a large volume of diverse and sometimes conflicting arguments;
4. compare and evaluate different arguments and assess the limitations of their own position or procedure;
5. write and present verbally a succinct and precise account of positions, arguments, and their presuppositions and implications;
6. be sensitive to the positions of others and communicate their own views in ways that are accessible to them;
7. think 'laterally' and creatively (i.e., to explore interesting connections and possibilities, and to present these clearly rather than as vague hunches);
8. maintain intellectual flexibility and revise their own position based on feedback;
9. think critically and constructively.
Topics will include:
Introduction: What is a photograph?
The Invention of Photography
Portraits of the Living and the Dead
Science and Surveillance
Photography and Art I
Photography as Document
Photography and Modernism
Photography and Art II
There will be a two-hour combined lecture and seminar each week.
All teaching events will be accessible to students on and off campus either face-to-face or remotely through online teaching.
Week 21 is reading week.
Assessment items, weightings and deadlines
|Coursework / exam
||2000 word essay
||SUMMER 24hr take home exam
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Natasha Ruiz-Gomez, email: email@example.com.
Dr Natasha Ruiz-Gómez
No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
No lecture recording information available for this module.
* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.
Disclaimer: The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its Module Directory is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can
be necessary to make changes, for example to programmes, modules, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements,
industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to modules may for example consist
of variations to the content and method of delivery or assessment of modules and other services, to discontinue modules and other services and to merge or combine modules.
The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications and module directory.
The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.